How Pharmacists Can Help Manage Your Hepatitis C Treatment
Pharmacists have been ranked as the most trusted healthcare professionals for years. Many people view their pharmacists as trustworthy and reliable. It is no surprise that some people spend more time speaking to their pharmacist than to their physician; the reason for this is that pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare professionals. Think about this: in order to see your doctor, you would have to book an appointment. On the flipside, pharmacists are available long into the evenings and are just a phone call away. Geographically, there is a pharmacy in nearly every community. Furthermore, speaking to a pharmacist and requesting advice is completely free.1
How a pharmacist can support your hep C treatment
Some pharmacies employ pharmacists that specialize in managing the care of clients with hepatitis C. Their roles involve calling the client every couple of weeks to ensure treatment therapy is tolerated. Depending on the province or state, the pharmacists may also be able to order and view lab results.
One of the most important aspects of the pharmacist in the management of hep C is to ensure that drug interactions are minimized. Many of the hep C medications have a significant number of drug interactions. Pharmacists can assess these interactions and make interventions accordingly to increase the odds that a cure is achieved.
Pharmacist medication reviews
One free service that pharmacist offer is a medication reconciliation, or a med review. This usually takes anywhere between 30-60 minutes to conduct and involves the pharmacist sitting down with you in a private counseling area to discuss your medications. The goal is to analyze all your medications – including those that are herbal and over-the-counter – to make sure that there are no drug interactions. Pharmacists will also ensure that you are not taking a drug that you no longer need. De-prescribing, or taking a patient off a drug that they no longer need, is a very crucial aspect of a pharmacist's scope, and is done in collaboration with the patient's physician. Pharmacists also use this time to go over potential side effects of treatment or therapy and review how you are taking the medication.
Prescribing and providing vaccines
Within the hep C field, pharmacists also have an important role in ensuring that your vaccines are all up-to-date. In my previous practice, I would often see people with hep C for an assessment of their vaccine status. People with hep C should also receive hep A and B, pneumococcal, and tetanus vaccines. Often, the physician they see may suggest this in passing; however, only a small percentage of people actually end up receiving these vaccines. A pharmacist can review your vaccination records and determine which vaccines you need so that your liver is protected.
Building a relationship with your pharmacist
It is a good idea to build a professional relationship with your pharmacist. One study revealed that those with a high-quality patient-pharmacist relationship are better able to manage their medications and condition. While this may seem daunting, rest assured that pharmacists enjoy building professional relationships with their patients. At the end of the day, this relationship will help you manage your hep C treatment more effectively.2
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